Friday, January 29, 2010

Fantasy Look For Less

Polyvore is a treasure trove of gorgeous items that most of us will never be able to afford. Today we'll take a look at some of those gorgeous yet expensive items we covet (alas, if money were no object!) and try to find suitable replacements that won't break the bank.

The first exciting discovery when styling "the look for less" was that the sari skirt featured above is not, in fact, $1000. It's only $31 on Amazon. Unfortunately at a lower price point stuff is generally not nearly as cute (sigh) but we still think we put together a comparable outfit, for only $110.39 instead of over $4000!

A girl can dream... and play on Polyvore :)
Happy look-for-less hunting!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Work Wear This Week

We had a bit of Polyvore fun with recreating our work outfits this week. They say "dress for the job you want, not the job you have," and that advice has hit home recently since we have been trying for a job title change to something involving "manager." We want to cover up and look more professional than we usually have in the past, while at the same time still enjoying putting outfits and colors together...

Silk blouse, Victoria's Secret, Jan 2010, $35 (now on sale for $33.99!)
Tiered ruffly skirt, TJ Maxx, 2007(?), $15
Lace tights, unknown, about $5
Black pointy leather boots, Off Broadway, Summer 2009, $30
Black ruffly cardigan, H&M via Goodwill, $4.49

Work Wear- Wednesday
Work Wear- Wednesday by ThriftyStylist featuring Petite Collection sweaters

Teal-green featherweight sweater, H&M via Raspberry Beret, Summer 2009, $17
Plaid pleated skirt, Free People via Goodwill, December 2009 $4.99
Teal tights, Vera Wang at Kohl's, January 2010, $9 (do not recommend- not opaque, ran immediately)
Same black boots as above, $30
Turquoise rose/feather hair clip, Summer 2009, SweetXcessories (Etsy), $7
Earrings - similar style by me (DesireeDesigns)

Grey blazer, Calvin Klein (interview emergency Spring 2009), $49.99
Pink wool straight skirt, J.G. Hook via Goodwill, November 2009, $4.99
Grey tights, drugstore or Payless (?), about $5
Magenta ribbed crewneck sweater, Victoria's Secret, Winter 2008, $14.99
Peeptoe slingbacks, Hot Kiss via Famous Footwear, summer 2008, $15
Earrings and necklace featuring vintage jet glass by me

Clearly, we still gravitate toward a matchy-matchy aesthetic, and, with very few patterns in our wardrobe, tend to colorblock one solid with lots of black if we're not matching. Not so fashion-forward, evidently... but we still really love each of these outfits! We'll keep trying to be more adventurous in our remixing and in purchasing printed garments!
How do you reconcile your personal style with needing to look professional? Any tips and tricks?
Happy outfit-planning!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How You Can Help Haiti

It's sobering to think about the tragedy of the recent disaster in Haiti, when most of us would much rather just have shopping and our own petty problems on the brain. Bloggers like Fashion for the Economically Challenged have posted about their efforts to divert some of their "fun money" to charity-- a great idea indeed. Here at Thrifty Stylist Boston there has already been a (not well-adhered-to) ban on buying new clothes... but there are still holes in our wardrobe and we honestly believe we need the occasional Goodwill trip in order to get through the work week. But, because we're generally so frugal, we do feel in a position to donate to the aid effort. If you are able, here are some terrific ways you can give.

First, for the sake of a few PICTURES in this wordy blog, check out the new Etsy shop HeartsForHaiti, where over 1500 items have already been sold and another 900 have been donated so far to raise money for relief efforts. Proceeds are going to Doctors Without Borders, whose facilities in Haiti were destroyed in the earthquake and therefore need your help more than ever. Our favorite items include

This gorgeous embroidered skirt from Malam in Paris:

...and this beautiful tree print from TheHauntedHollowTree in Pennsylvania:

Work is coordinating an employee donation program with a corporate match (organized by a new employee-- ask at work if your company hasn't pledged to help and maybe they will do the same!). We will be donating the proceeds to Partners In Health, a "grass-roots" health organization that has already been working in Haiti for many years.

If you want to choose another organization, make sure you check it on a charity rating list such as Charity Navigator, so that you can be sure the largest percentage of your gift will reach the intended recipients. Contrary to popular belief, the American Red Cross is one of the lower-rated groups with only three stars (out of four).

Another terrific idea is to participate in a microloan program. You may have heard of Kiva, where you can pledge to donate or just lend $25 or more to help fund a specific entrepreneur and help to pull them out of poverty. With an incredible repayment rate (almost no defaults) and a "teach a man to fish rather than hand him a fish" mentality, it's one of the most exciting organizations around. While Kiva does not have any current loans in Haiti, check out a similar organization called FINCA, currently working in Haiti and rated four stars. One of the most fascinating features on the FINCA site is the "impact calculator" which allows you to estimate the prolonged benefits your donation may have.

Whether you save some of your shopping money or donate out of savings you already have, please make an effort to help-- Haiti is one of the most impoverished nations on Earth and will not be able to recover without massive relief efforts. If you've already donated please leave a comment sharing your favorite charity!

Happy helping!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What We Bought: AmiClubWear

We have been singularly obsessed with finding a pair of grey boots lately, with no luck whatsoever in the shops. Lots and lots of tan (ew) and plenty of black (which we would usually love-- we used to think that there was no point in grey when black existed!)... but no grey.

Remembering that AmiClubWear, featured a few times in Lucky mag, has a great selection of super-cheap boots (mostly incredibly slutty, which is somewhat disturbing given that the site's tag line is "The Positive Place for Girls!"), we headed over to check out their clearance selection. And indeed, we found just what we were looking for! Amid the towering platform clubbing options were these two pairs of high-shaft flat boots, $10 each (click pics for listings):

We went with the suede. We were digging the kind of pirate thing going on with the cuffs. At $10 we doubt that these will be frequently worn or last particularly long, but boot season will be over before we know it, anyway, and we're sure we'll get some good use out of them before then. Certainly ten bucks' worth!

We also stocked up on more tights-- they carry a terrific selection of colored, printed and fishnet stockings, most from Leg Avenue, and many at super-clearance prices. We picked up bright nylon tights in kelly green and fuchsia for $2.99! (Available in eleven colors!!)

We disagree with whoever said that the printed stocking trend makes people look like they have "some sort of skin rash." We love it. So we grabbed these unusual flower-printed ones for $4.99:

Who knows if they'll work or just look bizarre, but we kind of love them.

They have a terrific selection of fairly-inexpensive lingerie, just as cute and trashy as Frederick's for about a quarter of the price. We picked up a cute little punk bra-and-mini set for $12.99:

As you may well know if you've been reading (or if you know us!), we were bitten hard by the floral/feather hair-accessory bug. We've been making our own after picking some up on clearance at Claire's and some on Etsy, but the selection and prices at AmiClubWear are pretty incredible. We scored this lovely grey feather version for just $10.99:

They have so many colors & sizes; floral and fascinators and feathers... 120 gorgeous options all under $25!

The last item we have been fixated upon finding for ages-- powdered facial blotting papers. We have combination skin which is dry in the morning and shiny in the evening-- adding pressed powder to try to combat the shine just exacerbates the dryness and makes us look flaky. Uncool. We had previously tried the blue plastic Clean & Clear version-- which does work but not quite as well as the powdered rice paper-- but the Burt's Bees Wings of Love that we once found and loved have proven nearly impossible to find. We located a great version on Amazon the other day for only $2.99, but they wanted $5 shipping for EACH ONE! No way. AmiClubWear to the rescue! NYX 50-packs of genuine paper pulp blotters are $2.99:

The best part about this order was that they are offering free shipping right now if you spend $50. Shipping would have been $29.95 or something ridiculous (watch out for that) but with the code given on the front page (AMISHIPPED) entered at checkout, UPS ground was FREE!

We are well aware that we shouldn't be shopping at all, but $10 shoes and staples like tights are things we feel we can sneak in without too much damage. And surely no boyfriend would complain about the punk schoolgirl outfit?

Have you ever bought anything from AmiClubWear? If so, tell us about it... we suspect the quality isn't terrific, but the prices belie that...

Happy shopping and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Work Wear We Love: The Vest

We are semi-scarred from a childhood involving hand-me-down sweater vests, and recall with horror and revulsion the tux-inspired gold-threaded satin-backed vests of the early 90s (shudder). We have suddenly, however, begun to adore the waistcoat-style vest as an alternative to the blazer for workwear. We picked up a version by AB Studio on clearance a couple of weekends ago at Kohl's, which fits like a dream, with five buttons, a deep v neck and interesting collar detail.

Much like choosing a blazer, selecting a vest requires thought about your body type and what would be most flattering. Most of us will be looking for something more than one button, to create that "locked and loaded" hourglass. If you are concerned about your hip area, look for a vest that skims and covers them rather than a cropped version. If you are slim and straight-up-and-down, look for details like princess seaming, nipped-in waists, shiny, light-bouncing fabrics, and bustline emphasis in order to create additional curves:

We think vests are a particularly adorable addition to a circle-skirt and slim-fitting shell t-shirt combination, but they are equally adorable over wide-legged tweed trousers or dark-wash jeans. They really help to flatter any woman's figure as they all essentially work to create that curvy silhouette most of us are after!

Do you like waistcoats? (We love pronouncing that word-- WESKIT!!!) If you've been wearing them, what are your favorite outfit pairings?

Happy bargain-hunting and have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What We Bought: VS Clearance (Psst, Extra Clearance Codes!)

It's been a while since we splurged on Victoria's Secret clearance, as the "new clothes" by catalog is still within the general new clothes ban just as Marshall's and TJ Maxx are. But... but... this time they offered free shipping (unusual with clearance items) and we had to fill a few holes in our wardrobe, really! (OK and the beauty gift sets from xmas were marked down heavily and who doesn't love clearance makeup and bath and body?!)

We bought a Nanette-Lepore-ish-without-the-price ruffled silk blouse, a bit over our usual range but hey, real silk, work piece, why not, at $34.99:

The picture will take you to a listing for $39.99, but go to catalogue quick order item number 21-247527 (no picture but it's the same!) instead to get the extra $5 off!
(Also available in black)

Just recently we were lamenting our lack of a sweater in hunter or forest green to go with a lovely new skirt from Goodwill. The cotton square-neck in Cilantro we had our eye on was sold out, so we settled for this boucle-knit corset-inspired one-- love the detailing, not that fond of boucle, but it'll do at $14.99:

Also available in 9 other colors!

We fell in love with the sumptuous color of these velvet leggings, perfect under a black mini or tunic, we think:

Listed at $29.50 but use this link to item number 21-247507 and you'll get them for $24.99! (Also available in black)

The makeup and beauty deals were unbeatable. We scored this delicious travel kit with everything but liner and mascara, originally $32, clearance price $15.99:

We got $5 off this cute little keepsake box with lotion and mini perfume of the scent Noir from the Sexy Little Things collection, clearance price $9.99:

Luscious-sounding body butter in "Romantic Wish" (cucumber, freesia and pomegranate) is clearance priced at $3.99, down from $10. Shea butter, olive oil, aloe... mmm... We bought two.

Here's hoping these gorgeous colors and lovely scents will help lift us from the doldrums of a cold, grey winter!

Happy clearance shopping!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best and Worst of February's Lucky

Hello dear readers,

Long time no blog!

The "real job" has gotten distressingly busy over the past few months, so forgive us for the hiatus.
We were inspired to post today by the February issue of Lucky magazine which showed up in our mailbox on Monday. It's a bit of a wispy issue-- looks like they've already talked about most of the winter fashions-- but there were a few exceptional features.
First off, we are dying and absolutely in love with the new "Diva" collection from Doc Martens. We spent the entire span of our teenage years in nothing but 8-hole Docs in purple, black and green... (still own the green ones but they're not so comfortable anymore, sadly, as we didn't take care of the leather). We were stunned and thrilled, therefore, to discover that Doc has updated their offerings with these amazing, kinda-granny-boot, kinda-Victorian, still-very-Doc heels (sorry the jpeg doesn't do them justice- check out the link):

Drool-worthy, for sure (unless you just hate them, we suppose).

We were also struck by (and had to discuss) the juxtaposition of both some of the BEST styling we've seen in a magazine with some of the very WORST. Different fashion editors, so perhaps that explains it, but really there is just no excuse for this hideousness:

Really, Andrea Linnet? Really? A DENIM QUEEN suit? We care not that the pants are technically silk and not jeans-- this is a denim suit. And it's fecking hideous. We'll forgive her the transgression since the rest of the spread was fairly tasty and inspired, but we hope that no one, NO ONE, will be seen in such a combination, this winter, spring, or any other time, except in a 1970s-era Halloween costume. Thank you.

On to the loveliness:

What we adore:

-Delicious boots

-Knee socks peeking out of boots (our absolute favorite trend this season)

-Richly-hued skinny jeans (acceptable to us if tucked into boots, or if you're going for a Hepburn look with ballet flats and can pull it off-- not really otherwise)

-Floppy grey hat with floral headband worn over it. Farking genius! Adorable. We die. Grey is our new favorite color, believe it or not... it's so versatile and lovely. Especially grey tights. We don't really wear hats- they're awfully itchy- but maybe we'll change our habits. Off to Etsy to look for affordable felt hats and floral headbands!

We could take or leave the sweater and bag here, but something similar that is a bit more our taste would definitely work.

What are your thoughts on these and other current trends? Love 'em or hate 'em?


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